Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Busy Day

 Yesterday we went to see Kensington play softball.  She did well and China was very interested.
 She pitches too!!   
When we arrived it was pouring rain.  As we had no umbrellas we decided to go shopping and stopped in GoodWill.  There were two very beat up dressers in the store for 30 dollars each.  The more we looked at them though we saw how well made they were.  There were even drawer dividers for socks and such.  The big problem?  We have no way to transport them.  Thankfully the grandparents were able to fit one in their car and will pick up the other on Sunday.  They are sleighted to go in our bedroom and be painted black.  It will take a lot of sanding and the drawer pulls will need to be replaced, but I think they will turn out really well.  I'll post pictures soon!
 I took a FREE Craftsy class on pizza dough--one of my favorite foods.  Wow!  The results were amazing!  Come over and I'll make some for you!

Northern Indiana

For all of you who have never had the privilege of traveling to the great state of Indiana, here's what you're missing!  Northern Indiana is pretty flat and there are a lot of soybean and corn fields.  The End.  Next week we'll be going down to Southern Indiana which is very different (much prettier--I grew up there!)


Friday, June 28, 2013

Our First Electronic Purchase Is...

..a rice cooker!  After being used to eating massive quantities of rice in China, we decided to invest in a rice cooker here.  We love it!  I've used it to steam squash, cook Basmati rice (still have yet to find a Chinese grocer), and slow cook pork.  Everything has turned out well.  Where did we buy it?  The local Wal-Mart--probably helps that we're in a college town!

Past Students

After reading this post about two ICS Singapore graduates, I was deeply moved.  I admit sometimes I think, "Was our twelve years overseas worth it?  Did we have any impact?"  Although we can't claim a huge role in these girls present success, we were there throughout their middle and high school years.  Matt taught them both science and I taught Spanish one year--Yikes!!  And now they are both doing GREAT things AND have stayed fantastic friends across thousands of miles.  Watch out world!  These international students do Awesome things!  It encourages me today! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Indianapolis Zoo

 Today we drove down to Indy and visited the Zoo.  We decided to go ahead and buy a membership as 2 visits is more than the price for a whole year.  The bird houses were new and you could really get close to them! (They are also building a new orangutan building to be finished next year.)
 There was the usual cast of characters--cute baby elephants and fearsome tigers. 
Ana and China enjoyed racing the cheetah--it shows you how quickly it would catch you!  China was obviously slightly faster than Ana!  We enjoyed the dolphin show too, but my camera is too slow to catch pictures of them.  Looking forward to more visits soon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


 We have been super excited to find some wild black raspberries down the road and in the neighbor's woods (he gave us permission to pick them).  We had them in smoothies this morning and I have about two cups saved up in the freezer--hopefully I can get to five and make a small cobbler.
My sister in law's cleaning lady had a free sewing machine available.  She showed up with this sewing table and a Brother machine EXACTLY like the one I had.  She's going to stop by and bring the chair later this week.  (I'll probably end of painting the table--yes, I've joined the painting craze!)  I was completely blown away by the generosity of a women I didn't even know.  My machine has always been on a shelf and brought out when I need it--so excited to have a dedicated place for it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our Life Right Now...Random!

This is a table we're working on at the moment.  We bought it about 13 years ago and for 12 of that it was in an attic.  It really needs some help.  I always liked the legs on it and it goes perfectly with Matt's cast iron bed (that will probably be in Ana's room--when she has a room to put it in!)

There are two large, black snakes in the tree by the pool.  This disturbs the brothers Matt and Mike greatly.  (Matt wants to shoot them!)

We went to a local farmer's market--got some black raspberry jelly, popcorn, and squash.  An interesting experience in that many of the vendors were Mennonites.

Today we helped Faith Church clean up their new building.  It will be a beautiful when finished!  It will have housing for college students (the apartments were SUPER nice--every bedroom had its own bathroom) a preschool, and a church.  Mostly we swept, mopped, cleaned bathrooms, and dusted the baseboards. 

Matt had his interview at Greenwood Christian today--haven't heard how it went yet!  No news from any of the other interviews--many of them are on vacation.  And so we continue to wait :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Today I'm Thankful For...

...a pool right outside our back door--hours of entertainment.
...bacon, pancakes, and french toast for Sunday lunch--yummm!
...friends that stay friends even after 12 years of not seeing each other--amazing!
...salsa and bacon and cookie dough ice cream--great treats!!


 Our kids have TWO cousins (both high school age).  It's been great to be living with them.  They've been super helpful entertainers AND Ana thinks they're the coolest.  (Mostly because they still like to color and play on playgrounds!)
 Thanks for the help girls!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Big Chop

 Well, we did it.  We went from long to short.  Ana was starting to spend a lot of time in the pool, so I thought it was a good idea to cut it before it got damaged from the chlorine.  The best parts?  She can wash and style it herself AND it brings out her eyes.  (It was nice to have family around to tell her how nice it looks.  Uncle Mike told her, "It looks very cute." and she needed no further reassurance!)
Her pony tail will be sent to Locks for Love just as soon as we get a big enough envelope!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Family Fun

On Father's Day we went down to Martinsville to hang out with some of my family.  Good food and fun catching up (even though jet lag hit us hard around 2 pm).  On the left is my brother Josh and his wife Sarah.  My parents are on the right along with my grandparents.  It's nice to back amongst family :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Goin' Solo

 Ana got to ride on her second day in America.  She is a fearless little creature and was determined to ride without someone leading her.  (To tell the truth it is hard work to walk around and around AND the horses aren't going anywhere--it's a small lot.)  So, the grandparents turned her loose.  She did all right.  Hannah, the pony, got wise to the fact that she couldn't direct very well and didn't kick too hard.  All in all she did well.  "It's a good ride if you don't fall off."
Luckily G and G kept the little saddle.  Her legs are almost long enough!

The Trip Back

Our trip back was relatively uneventful (except for some insane security in Beijing!!!) until we hit Chicago.  We landed early and the sun was shining.  We found our gate and ate some snacks.  THEN a storm rushed in with great bolts of lighting and tornado watches.  The airport proceeded to shut down and UNITED CANCELLED ALL THEIR FLIGHTS.  Unfortunately ours was one of the last that they cancelled.  So by then all the other passengers had rented every single car and hotel room in the city.  We had no phone and no cell phone numbers for anyone but my parents.  (Did you know if you make a pay phone call using your credit card it is 11 US dollars for the first minute---insane!!)  Eventually we got a hold of my dad and he got a hold of the Eilers and Matt's brother drove up to Chicago and picked us up--THANK  YOU!!!  While we were waiting we got new tickets so that we could go back through security and eat.  Our first meal?  Johnny Rockets--the best burger I've had in a long time!  I told Ana to take a picture with her burger and she licked it ???  Glad to be back in one piece!!

The Last Days part 3

 We really didn't do too much on our last couple of days--partially because it was a holiday (dragon boat festival) and partially because of the weather.  We made it a point to say our goodbyes and...
 Ana's last wish was to splash in the ocean.  There was one day when it was actually warm enough--and she had a great time digging around in the sand and standing in the waves.  Bye ocean!  We're headed back to landlocked Indiana :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Last Days part 2

 On Saturday morning we headed out to the beach for an early morning baptism.  Ana had a really good friend and she was happy to hang out with him some more.  (Believe it or not he is two years younger than her--going to be a big boy!)  They had fun throwing rocks into the ocean and digging in the sand.
What a special blessing to be a part of this event!  Although many people are baptised when they are young, this baptism was a real testimony to the community. Go Tash!

The Last Days part 1

 Ana had her first sleepover--well partial sleepover.  As we were going to the staff banquet and couldn't leave all of them with a high schooler, Ana went downstairs to a friend's house.  She was so excited she got everything ready herself.  They had a great time and didn't fall asleep until 9:00--really late for Ana!

 The banquet was at Le Meridien.  The food is always excellent and it was a nice way to say goodbye to friends.

Friday, June 14, 2013

We Made It!

We really had a fairly uneventful trip and the long flight wasn't a problem for anyone.  When we arrived in Chicago we actually thought we would make it to Indy, BUT a strong storm system moved in and we couldn't get out in time.  There we were without a phone and no cell phone numbers.  There were no rental cars left and no hotel room available near the airport.  Thankfully my dad got a hold of Matt's family and Matt's brother drove to Chicago to pick us up.  We arrived "home" at 2 am!

Thanks for all your prayers.  I'll try to get pictures posted soon!   

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And We're Off!

We're leaving in a few hours.  Although this trip is not too long, it does include one 12 1/2 hour flight.  Pray that China doesn't go stir crazy and that Ana can sleep.  Looking forward to seeing many of you in the States soon!

Sunday, June 9, 2013 posts because

the internet here is as slow as molasses in January or a sloth climbing up a tree or a glacier moving towards the sea.  You get the idea!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What 3,4,and 5 Year Olds Do...

when left unsupervised.  Dig through the trash!!  (taken from 5 stories up)
 Build secret houses in the trees.  (I pity the person that had to clean this up!)



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Last Supper

Our sweet Ayi cooked us a farewell dinner last night.  She invited three families she has worked for--two of which are leaving in a few days.  The dishes included jiaozi, broccoli, mushrooms, pork, fried chicken, egg omelet, and squid with peppers (which in my humble opinion was the best dish!).  A lot of time, effort, and money went into this.  We have been so blessed to have her help us at home.  Thank you Ayi!
The top picture is all the kids from the three families.  And then there is Ana with a sword--it was glued to her hand THE.WHOLE.NIGHT!!  What a super evening of fantastic food and great fellowship!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


 ISQ does a wonderful job helping you enter and exit well.  Last night all the ladies went out to eat.  The leaving women offer "prizes" of left over items they couldn't sell.  By answering a question correctly, the lady can pick a treasure.  There was some pretty fierce competition!! 
 I love the modern design of this restaurant.  These bookshelves lightly stained in green would be inexpensive to make--might look good in a boy's room. 
It's tradition too that the leaving people get a free meal!  What's not to like about that?  These were double decker quesadillas. 
As always it was super nice to get out of the house, have adult conversation, and be with friends!

Monday, June 3, 2013

There Be Roses

 Today is a nasty, foggy day BUT the roses are still shockingly beautiful.  In some places there are curtains lining the walkway.  Of course it smells heavenly too.  I hope I get to see them in the sun! 
 Thanks to God for the beauty around us that brightens the foggiest of days!

Our Little Experiment--We're Really Bored!!

I read on pinterest that different greens and some lettuces would regrow if placed in water.  It works! Although we won't have time to eat them, it is something worth trying in the States.

We are going to some of our favorite places--restaurants, etc.  I hope we can sneak in a beach day BUT the weather is supposed to be really rainy.  We'll see. 

We had the all wives meeting at our house.  I made a yummy strawberry cake that turned out well.  We got rid of the rest of the misc.  items sitting around, and tomorrow I will start packing--to make sure we can fit it in!